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Mokulele Airlines Expands at Molokai & Lāna‘i

Ohana’s Exit Provides Unprecedented Opportunity to Serve

Airline adds two more daily departures at Lāna‘i to complement hourly service at Molokai


Mokulele Airlines is set to become the sole airline serving Molokai and Lāna‘i beginning Friday when Ohana by Hawaiian suspends operations. The planned departure of Ohana was accelerated when the federal Department of Transportation agreed with Hawaiian Airlines that Mokulele is capable of providing the needed service to the communities. Ohana’s last flight is today.


Mokulele, a local airline for over 25 years, mergedbrands with Honolulu-based Makani Kai Air in June of this year as a result of decreased demand brought about by the state restrictions on air travel. The combined entity has stabilized the commuter airline market in Hawai‘i and positioned Mokulele to be able to withstand the hardships caused by the quarantines.


“Mokulele Airlines has gone beyond normal business practices to serve Molokai and Kalaupapa during the pandemic,” said Richard Schuman, Executive Vice President of Mokulele. “Prior to COVID, we were offering departures to and from Molokai every half hour, and we are ready to rebuildto that scheduleas the demand increases.”


Mokulele started serving the island of Lāna‘i in 2019, with direct flights from Kahului. Honolulu service to Lāna‘i was initiated in 2020 with two daily departures. “We are monitoring the demand on a daily basis and are adding extra daily flights as needed,” said Schuman. “We added a new Honolulu-Lāna‘i frequency earlier this week to meet the growing demand and then another one just this morning.” By Monday, January 18, the number of daily departures from Lāna‘i will have increased to seven per day. “We have plenty of planes and plenty of pilots that are ready to serve. Should the demand dictate, we could offer flights from the Lāna‘i airport every hour!”


Mokulele has worked to address concerns from the community following the announcement of the planned exit of Ohana Airlines last October. In the past, there have been some challenges transporting passengers with limited mobility. To solve that issue, Mokulele commissioned the construction of wheelchair lifts to ease the boarding process for these passengers. Lifts are now in place and have been used over the last two months. In addition, Mokulele is completing an alternative boarding procedure and seating configuration designed to accommodate persons-of-size. As a result, Mokulele can now transport passengers weighing up to 400 pounds. Booking of fights for passengers-of-size and limited mobility must be done by calling Mokulele’s Call Center at (808) 495-4188.


Mokulele Airlines now serves more airports in Hawai‘i than any other carrier and has the most daily departures of any airline in the state. Mokulele is also the only Hawaiian airline not to have furloughed any employees since the start of the pandemic.


Passengers having furtherquestions are encouraged to contact the 24/7 Customer Service Center.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.

Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.


Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes.


Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.


“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” says CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”


This order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021 and will become effective on January 26, 2021.


The Hawaiʻi State Senate announced today new operational changes ahead of the 2021 legislative session. The changes are related to:


Safety Protocols: The Senate is reinforcing pre-existing protocols and implementing several new measures to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining an open and transparent legislative process.


Protocols include:


• Workplace best practices: all employees must wear a face mask, practice social distancing, limit physical contact, and practice good personal hygiene.


• Cleaning and disinfecting conference rooms and the Senate chamber before and after each use.


• Providing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.


• Installing protective sneeze guards, signage, hand sanitizer dispensers, and air purifiers and reconfiguring work areas.


• Conducting meetings, hearings, floor sessions, and staff training virtually.

• Conducting new employee onboarding online with minimal personal interaction.


• When possible, allowing employees to work remotely to reduce the number of individuals physically present at the Capitol.


Public Access: Since the State Capitol building will be closed to the public, the Senate will be conducting all committee hearings and floor session virtually. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide testimony in writing and via videoconference, allowing broader participation by those who previously were not able to get to the State Capitol.


Some changes include:


• The Senate will be using Zoom as its online meeting platform.


• Committee Chairs will have the option to conduct hearings 100% remotely or offer their members a hybrid set-up with some Senators participating from Senate conference rooms and some joining the hearing remotely.


• Written testimony and videoconference testimony registration will be accepted through the Legislature’s website. No in-person testimony will be allowed.


• Testifiers will be given the option to submit remote virtual testimony once written testimony is submitted. Individuals must register no later than 24 hours prior to the committee hearing in order to be added to the remote virtual testimony list.


• All Senate standing committee hearings will be live streamed on YouTube. This is a significant improvement in public access over previous years when only selected hearings were broadcast on cable television and streamed over the internet. In addition to the live streams, the Senate will continue to work with public access television providers on all islands to broadcast Senate committee hearings and floor sessions. All live streams will be available online and on demand at youtube.com/hawaiisenate


Legislative Timetable: Both the Senate and House have agreed on a modified timetable that has the legislative session convening on January 20, 2021 and adjourning sine die on April 29, 2021.


Modifications to the timetable include:


• Shortening conference by one-week.

• Reducing the number of recess days from thirteen to nine.


“As we continue to navigate through this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been working hard to ensure the safety of our Senate staff while also ensuring an open and transparent legislative process,” noted Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi. “While the Capitol building will remain closed for the foreseeable future, all of our proceedings will be made available online and on-demand, making it easier for the public to engage with us on the issues.


These new practices and protocols have been adopted in accordance with CDC guidelines, the City and County of Honolulu’s tiered reopening system and are subject to change.


More information will be made available on the Capitol website: www.capitol.hawaii.gov




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Hawai`i State Capitol
415 South Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

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